White Mountain Peak
By: George Toby
Twenty eight climbers signed up for the trip and 28 showed up Sat morning at 7:00 am at the Grand View campground, a very neat campground with clean pit toilets, but no water and no fee. We left some care to secure some campsites and consolidated into 8 vehicles to caravan up the 25 miles on mostly good dirt road to the normally locked Barcroft gate at 11,760'. However with numerous phone calls to Barcroft and Bishop, George managed to get approval from the Barcroft people to leave the gate unlocked, but we were only permitted to have 4 vehicles past the gate. So four 4 wheelers shuttled all 28 people up to the Barcroft Research Lab at 12,400 feet. This saved us 2.2 miles each way and 640' gain & loss. It was much appreciated on the way down. Quite a few had sore wet feet.
The weather was just beautiful. Sunny and clear, White Mtn was splendid in a new coat of snow. A fierce storm the previous week end dumped 2 feet of snow on the mountain and caused Bill T Russell to cancel a similar trip on Sep 7. Most of the snow had melted. We only had 6 to 8 inches on the peak. The snow added another dimension of beauty to the peak but slowed us down a bit. There is a jeep road all the way to the top of White Mtn (14,246). No navigation required. Just follow the yellow brick road. The Barcroft people were running up and down the road in snow mobiles. They also bad two regular vehicles stuck in the snow, waiting for the snow to melt to free them.
26 climbers made the summit. We were so jubilant. The previous two years this same DPS trip with leaders Mary Mac and Sherry Harsh was snowed out. There is a fairly large stone hut on the top and lots of Junk and rubbish. Barcroft needs to clean up their act. But the views were just gorgeous. We could see forever, but not much snow in the Sierras. Mary led the main group down while Sherry and George waited on top for the slower people and brought them all back to Barcroft by 5:00 pm. Sherry did a super job as sweep both up and down.
Back at camp the group helped George celebrate his 70th. birthday with great quantities of vino and good things to eat. Barbara Reber presented George with a neat T shirt embossed with a mountain on the front and letters on the back saying "S0 HAPPPY I'VE TURNED 70' with 70 in big 6' high letters. My thanks to Barbara. This was a real fun trip, with a very congenial group. I thank them one and all for the fine birthday party. I think a good time was had by all.
Sunday most people bugged out for home, but 9 or 10 of us drove up the paved road to the Bristlecone Pines exhibit and forest. We did a short walking and photo tour. It was well worth the effort. We were very pleasantly surprised to see that the Ranger in charge was Lynne Walker, a former SPSer and hiking and climbing friend from Bishop. And she looked just great. Note to future leaders of White Mtn: Please contact George or Bill T. Russell on procedure and phone numbers of how to get permission to drive past the normally locked gate to Barcroft. Happy Climbing.
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